What Is BHT & Is It Safe?

BHT (butylated hydroxytoluene) is a human-made chemical used as a preservative in foods and cosmetics [1]. This chemical is regularly used to preserve fats, color, texture, and oils in these products [2]. It’s also a synthetic antioxidant used in processed foods. BHT risks include potential hormone disruption and cancer. Million Marker believes BHT is dangerous and should be avoided. 



What Products Have BHT In Them?

BHT can be found in:

  • Lip glosses

  • Lotions 

  • Breakfast cereals

  • Foods like preserved meats and chips 

  • Dehydrated foods

  • Baked goods 

  • Snack foods

  • Chewing gum 

  • Flavored products 

Is BHT Safe?

This chemical is commonly used as a preservative in cosmetics and foods. However, General Mills started removing BHT from their cereals over growing health concerns [3]. In vivo tests suggest that the BHT preservative is bad for you. BHT may act as an endocrine disruptor and damage healthy cells [4]. Million Marker recommends avoiding BHT products. 

Health Impacts of BHT Products

Some animal studies have shown BHT as an endocrine disruptor that has toxic effects on the liver, lungs, kidneys, blood system, and reproductive system [5]. As an endocrine disruptor, it can impact testosterone levels as well as affect sperm quality. Another reason why BHT isn’t good for you is that it might cause enlargements in the liver, inflammatory effects in the lungs, renal dysfunction, and a decrease in potassium levels [5].  

Recommended Alternatives to BHT

Healthier alternatives to BHT include [6]:

  • Rosemary extract to act as a preservative.

  • Vitamin E to help conserve the freshness of products.

  • Save fresh food in BHT-free food storage containers.  

  • Use Vitamin C-rich lemon juice in recipes.

  • Freeze anything you’re not eating.

How to Avoid BHT

You can reduce your exposure to BHT by avoiding products with BHT or butylated hydroxytoluene on labels.  

BHT goes by many names, including [7]:

  • BHT

  • Butylated hydroxytoluene 

  • 2,6-Di-tert-butyl-4-methylphenol

  • 128-37-0

  • Butylhydroxytoluene

  • 2,6-Di-tert-butyl-p-cresol

You can find our recommended personal care products on our Approved Products list!


[1] https://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/0558/6957/1159/t/8/assets/description_image_JAKO198203041883574.pdf?v=1659971818 

[2] https://www.forceofnatureclean.com/chemical-free-living-butylated-hydroxytoulene/ 

[3] https://cen.acs.org/articles/93/i8/General-Mills-Remove-Antioxidant-BHT.html  

[4] https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/08/170809155736.htm 

[5] https://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/0558/6957/1159/t/8/assets/description_image_JAKO198203041883574.pdf?v=1659971818 

[6] https://www.sun-sentinel.com/florida-jewish-journal/fl-jj-alternative-food-preservatives-20181017-story.html 

[7] https://pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/compound/Butylated-hydroxytoluene